Best grocery-store steak cut?
I'm a steak amateur- I don't have a grill or a grillpan, and have not been a big red-meat eater up until recently (cravings, by darned!) I'm basically working off of a panseared and/or broiled method, and I've been trying a cut a week for the past few weeks based largely on whats on sale at my local store. I've seemed to notice that shell steaks (which I guess are also NYstrips?) cook up the nicest, but that could be coincidental to the specific steaks that I got.
So, short of getting some insanely priced whole-foods, private butcher, farmers market ultra-deluxe fancy cut (which i would rather eat out at lugers or the like) what is your FAVORITE cut of steak and your favorite method of prep? What do you look for when purchasing said cut? Theres about a billion websites about choosing a steak, but its hard to get a "knack" for it without having a specific cut in mind...
For pan-searing I really prefer a lean cut like a sirloin or fillet. The fattier more marbled cuts do not break down and render enough for a quick sear method, in my opinion, and don't have the best texture. For grilling and broiling though, I do like something fattier like a rib-eye, New York strip or porterhouse.
Outside of the regular "ny strip / ribeye / t-bone / porterhouse" usual suspects:
For bargain-y cuts, I really like top sirloin and skirt. Top sirloin is very beefy flavorful, but not very fatty so it turns to leather once you take it past med. Skirt is really fatty, so it's a tad more forgiving. Flank is another flavorful but lean cut that I prefer on the rarer side unless doing a slow braise. I think for the most part, when choosing a steak, you wanna look for as much marbling as possible, and as little sinew as possible. For top sirloin, I look for really thick ones cut "restaurant style." Of these three, I like top sirloin the most for a proper steak at a fantastic price. Skirt second. I do inner skirt for steaks, and outer skirt for chopping into tacos. Flank I use more as a slicing meat than a "steak on a plate" if that makes any sense.
Flatiron is best served that way, too. If you're within range of a store somewhere in the Kroger chain they have good flatirons that run $6-$7/lb around here. They do need to have some fatty sinews cut out (almost always on the underside that you can't see until you take them from the package!), and the flavor is less "steaky" than the premium cuts, but prepared right they're quite good. I pat mine dry after cleaning it up and rub it well with salt and pepper, then let it sit out under a clean dishtowel for an hour or so. Then I cook it on the grill or in a pan just to rare in the middle, about four or five minutes per side, let it rest, then slice across to serve it. The leftovers get sliced much thinner and either used for sandwiches or sautéed in butter for steak-and-eggs.
NY strips are most often cooked in our house. I look for "family packs" where you can usually get 5 or 6 steaks for less than $25. We also buy the whole tenderloins when they are on sale. The market usually offers free butchering and it is a great way to save $$. But I would caution that a food saver is also necessary if you want to keep beef (or any other meats) in the freezer for an extended period.
I use the broiler to cook steak indoors. The key is to give it time to get really hot, like 20 minutes or more. Make sure steaks are dry, rub with a little canola oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little chili powder. I find this "rub" helps develop that nice crust. Let steak come to room temp. And keep an eye on the steak, they cook very quickly under a hot broiler. If you have a thick steak, you may need to turn down the oven and let it cook for a few more minutes after searing under the broiler.
Our favorite is ribeye, either with or without the bone. Second is NY. What you do is get those flyers in the mail -or pick them up at your megamart- and watch for sales. Save up a little cash for when they happen because usually the best deals are the large quantity packages. I buy these,and spend a little time double-wrapping each steak, writing the weight on each one, then put them in a gallon ziploc with the type of steak and the date, and put this in the freezer. I do this with just about all my meat (they were having a two-for-one on roasts, so I got two 4+ lb sirloin roasts for just under $17!) We are a family of only 3, so usually 2 steaks is plenty for dinner, often giving us leftovers to slice up the next day and put into tortillas with chopped tomatoes, onion, and shredded cheese and lettuce.
As for cooking the steak, I use a grill pan, which I recommend because you can easily grill veggies (cut into chunks and brush with olive oil and maybe some fresh herbs like oregano), or make simple kebabs using veggies and pre-cooked sausage of any kind.
But a good pan will work just fine. I usually just sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper; sometimes I rub them with coarsely chopped garlic as well.
Rib Eye and New York Strip Steaks are the obvious choice for best and favorite for many, but you should not discount or ignore cheaper cuts that also have some great beef flavor,.e.g., Skirt, Hanger, Tri-Tip and Flat Iron.
Where do you reside, and what is the normal market you will be shopping at? The reason for asking is......cuts of beef are often given different names depending on the region of the country (USA) or world.